Your Witness Trees
Our phantom threads are bullets.
There we were
at your every Gettysburg.
Liken yours to your country’s bloodiest.
You hardly fault Plath
for calling herself Lazarus
and a victim of the Holocaust.
Lo and behold: what’s left of your North,
your South, your slavery. Climb us
for a better look. My,
you’re out of touch. It cannot
be ancient history if, still, so many
of us stand and your musket-
fire is a nine-step procedure.
You say no continuity between
tourists and soldiers, you and them.
Or is it you now and you then?
Wise up. You needn’t have
lost a leg to a cannonball.
Just listen to your witness trees.
Never mind that few of us are literal
trees—none as predictable as “witnesses
for Christ.” Listen: a paroxysm
of wind attacks
our leaves and branches
to say, “History, first of all, isn’t history.”
Header photo by Carlos Amarillo, courtesy Shutterstock. Photo of Nathanael Tagg by Richard Waine.